Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Instant analysis: Pirates 5, Nats 1

USA Today Sports Images
Game in a nutshell: Another night, another dismal performance from a Nationals club that is this close to veering off the train tracks for good. Taylor Jordan pitched well in his fifth career start but was the latest victim of sloppy defense behind him. Not that it would have mattered had Jordan pitched a gem. The Nats couldn't muster anything against rookie Gerrit Cole or the Pirates bullpen, totaling three hits for the night. Wilson Ramos' third-inning homer was the lone bright spot, and not nearly enough to snap this foundering lineup out of its season-long slump. Losers of five straight and 10 of 12 now, the Nationals are four games under the .500 mark and sinking fast.

Hitting lowlight: Rick Schu hasn't seen the Nationals much this season because he's been busy coaching minor leaguers. What the new hitting coach saw tonight, though, should give him a good idea of what he has to work with this bunch, which for all its talent has become one of baseball's least-productive (and most-predictable) lineups. The Nats didn't really mount any kind of challenge tonight. Granted, Cole is an elite pitching prospect, the No. 1 draft pick in the country only two years ago. But the rookie right-hander mowed through this lineup without so much as breaking a sweat, allowing two hits (Bryce Harper's leadoff single in the first, Ramos' solo homer in the third) and a walk over seven sterling innings. The Nationals had only three at-bats with runners in scoring position. They of course went 0-for-3, leaving them an astounding 6 for their last 78 in that department.

Pitching highlight: Say this about Jordan: He's getting better and better with each start he makes at this level. And tonight was the culmination of that progress, resulting in eight standout innings from the rookie right-hander. Though he surrendered three runs in top of the second, he easily could have escaped without any damage with just a little bit of help from his defense. Anthony Rendon's error trying to turn a tailor-made 5-4-3 double play prolonged the inning, though it led to only one unearned run. Jordan cruised after that, pitching efficiently and using his sinker to get groundball outs. He not only got an opportunity to pitch the seventh inning for the first time but was back out there for the eighth. He nearly got through that frame as well, but then served up a two-out homer to Pedro Alvarez followed by a single to Russell Martin. The rookie departed after that, given a standing ovation from a crowd that appreciates what the kid has done.

Key stat: The Nationals have thrown out only nine of 73 basestealers this season, a 12 percent rate that ranks last in the majors by seven percentage points.

Up next: Stephen Strasburg and Francisco Liriano meet in a strong pitchers' duel on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Strasburg is 5-7 with a 2.97 ERA, while Liriano has enjoyed a big comeback season for Pittsburgh, going 9-4 with a 2.44 ERA.

69 comments:

Doc said...

Rick's a nice guy, but he's just not cutting it.

Only 3 hits tonight, so it's obvious that he's got the hitters screwed up.

Time to make a change!

sjm308 said...

This is exactly what I was talking about. I can support a group much easier that plays good defense but that is NOT this group. Not just the errors but holding runners, making smart decisions, etc etc. It is like a broken record but I will be there on Thursday hoping for at least a game that will be enjoyable to watch. My dreams of playoffs is pretty much over.

jeffwx said...

I will be there tomorrow, friday and saturday.
I feel sorry for myself

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Schu has his work cut out for him... Some terrible at bats...

Hope we can at least split...

David Proctor said...

Whoever our new manager is next year needs to spend a lot of time in Spring Training on fundamentals. Situational drills. Bunting. Sac flys. Baserunning. Defense. We've done all of those things terrible this year and it's cost us many wins. If you can't hit, you have to execute the small things right nearly every time. We can't do either. Thus, we suck.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Doc, LMAO. The Nats are just back in the bad luck mode but you could point more to the caught stealing in the 1st inning as a big play in the game. I don't get it. I don't get the Rendon error or Davey's decision to not pull TJord in the 8th when he had Krol ready to face Alvarez.

The competition the last 5 games has played flawless defense and their manager makes the right moves.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Davey says he wanted to leave Taylor in the there to win the ballgame and that's why he didn't pull him against Alvarez.

Team before individuals Davey!

Knoxville Nat said...

Thrown out only 9 of 73 base stealers this season, one of the worse fielding teams in MLB this season, (don't we lead or close to the lead in errors?), and can't hit worth a damn. Just what the heck were we doing in spring training any way?

SCNatsFan said...

Knoxville, in ST this year it appears a lot of guys played golf and ate out

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I still see the promise. I like TJord and this kid should easily grab the #5 spot in the 2014 rotation.

Slider was sharp in the beginning, fastball location was great, good changeup in the early innings. His pitches flatened out late in the game.

He tamed McCutcheon and that was impressive!

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Not understanding DJ wanting to give TJ the chance to win..l. Game was theoretically out of hand... We only scored 1 run... They scored 4 at that point...

sjm308 said...

I will be very interested in seeing what Rizzo does in the next two weeks. I have to think teams are calling him about Soriano or Clippard. Not sure we have any other "inventory" that another team would find interesting. I read where the Yankees are kicking the tires on A.Soriano. That might make sense for an AL team looking for a bat. Sadly, we have no bats at this time.

Knoxville Nat said...

DP, do you remember when Riggleman took over as manager in July 2009? He use to have the team out doing infield drills before home games and got roasted for it by certain veterans on the club. Continued in following years, not always but when he thought it was needed. Nats went from one of the worse defensive teams to about league average in that time span but the veterans didn't like it. Now we have regressed to one of the worst in all of MLB defensively.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

I actually see TJ as a 4... Depending on Det, kinda too.. I'm wondering if he should be moved back to the BP...

sjm308 said...

Agree Mrs B - I just don't understand why Davey is so against putting a lefty or any reliever into a game in the middle of an inning. I was at two of the Dodger games and it seemed like Mattingly was making moves all the time. Unfortunately, they all worked.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MrsB loves the Nats said...
Not understanding DJ wanting to give TJ the chance to win..l. Game was theoretically out of hand... We only scored 1 run... They scored 4 at that point...


Sounds like Davey was caught in a lie but it was 3-1 when Alvarez stepped into the box, but like I said at 9:55, if you think you have a chance to win you do it for the Team not the Individual.

3-1 was a tough deficit but 5-1 and it's over.

David Proctor said...

I think there's a balance, Knoxville. I'm not sure spending hours doing drills in 90+ degree heat before a game is particularly productive. So I see where the vets are coming from. But there's no excuse to not spend a lot of time on it both during spring training and then maybe some refresher courses at various times throughout the year.

sjm308 said...

Can we honestly depend on Detwiler? Has he had a complete season healthy in his pro career?

sjm308 said...

DP - with the poor bunting we have shown, especially since the AS break, I am wondering if that was even addressed? It doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to have your guys all take 5 to 10 bunts each day and maybe they do. I agree that most of this is probably needed in spring training but it can't hurt to mix things up. Again, this is much easier accomplished when things are going well and much more difficult when you are losing.

Doc said...

Ghost, I agree with those posts that criticize the team for fundamental mistakes.

I mean we have a 1st string C that can't catch pop flies. And nobody to help him work on it.

And Storen's two wild pitches last night, still honk me off!

David Proctor said...

SJM, FP said that Schu had Span, Lombo and Rendon out doing bunting drills today. So there's that.

LoveDaNats said...

Aarrrrgghhh! (Cry of anguish)! I'm done now.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Well Schu knows what we are like now.

Ray knight has no confidence in the hitters breaking out.

We swung at 4 ball 4s result 4 outs. Should have had 4 base runners.

This represents our lack of execution.

Knoxville Nat said...

Dave, I agree there has to be a balance but IMHO the 2013 Nats are very lacking in many of the fundamentals of the game. My question is more to how hard have they worked on them this season? My impression, based on what I've seen is very little. That speaks to a lack of good coaching.

David Proctor said...

Well I agree with you there, Knoxville. Whatever they're doing now isn't good enough. I can handle a team that isn't very good. I did it for many years prior to this one. I can't handle a talented team that finds ways to lose games.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Dodgers were down 8-3 in the 6th and now winning 10-8 in the 8th.

MrsB loves the Nats said...

Sjm- I'm against selling/buying at this point becuz for the most part I like the team as is... Even if nothing happens this year... I think once we solidify the SP, get a new bench and maybe some effective coaching, things are different...

hiramhover said...

re Det -

2012 was only time he approached anything like a full season as a starter - 164 IP, 27 starts, 6 relief appearances.

So no, you can't count on him. Seems to me Rizzo needs to find (from within or without) both a #4 and #5 starter for 2014, and Det gets to compete for a slot in ST if/when he's healthy.

I am impressed with Jordan, tho, and see him as a real contender for one of those spots next year.

David Proctor said...

Buying would be awful at this point. Selling...there's really no point. Nobody we have is worth much. Clippard and Soriano are our best trade pieces and you're not going to get a lot for a reliever.

Knoxville Nat said...

On a positive note I am impressed with this Taylor Jordan and thank NatsJack and others for pointing him out to us. He definitely looks as if he could take a spot in the rotation next season.

sjm308 said...

David - that was my point exactly, the only two chips we have are Clip and Soriano. Now, if Rizzo could really pull something off and get high quality prospects I would not scream. I would have thought this scenario impossible even two weeks ago but it is clear to me we are going nowhere.

MrsB - I love the team (I don't actually love our bench all that much right now) but I don't think as a GM you sit back and wait and hope for change. I am not advocating Rizzo going out and calling but I bet other teams are calling him.

hiramhover said...

DP

Right - rotation can be addressed in the off-season, or maybe after the waiver deadline if something esp. interesting came up. No reason to become a buyer now.

Unknown said...

This team has a complete lack of fundamentals. Not to mention a lack of leadership, lack of heart, and complete absence of a plan for the future.

If I see one more discussion about the lack of bunting skills on here, I'm gonna puke. It's way deeper than that.

karlkolchak said...

"...you're not going to get a lot for a reliever."

I'm sure Wilson Ramos would beg to differ, and Clippard is a much better pitcher than Matt Capps.

David Proctor said...

Fair enough, karlkolchak. If there were an appealing offer, both Clippard and Soriano would be on the block. Clippard would be painful to part with though, because he's relatively cheap and under team control for 2 more years. I fully expect us to contend during that time and he'd be a valuable piece. It's a difficult decision to make because we're in a precarious spot. We're not the typical seller who is several years from contention. You don't want to give away a valuable guy, because he could come in handy next year.

I'd stay put. But I'd listen to offers and if someone overwhelmed me, begrudgingly do it.

BigCat said...

I really hope rizzo doesn't make some drastic moves and try to pull a rabbit out of a hat. This is a team that has a lot of talent, but for whatever reason, it ain't happening this year

karlkolchak said...

Here is who would be off limits if I were GM:

Harper, Rendon, Desmond, Ramos, Stras, J-Znn and Gio.

Here's who we would likely not get a worthwhile return for because of their contracts:

R Zim & Werth

Otherwise, I'd listen to offers on any other player because this mess has to change before next season. The Red Sox cleaned house and it worked wonders for them this year. No reason it can't happen here, but it won't if the team stands pat.

NatsLady said...

So between Capuano and Marmol, the Dodgers are losing 8-2. They are now leading 10-8...

David Proctor said...

I'd listen to offers for ALR, but there's not a huge need for 1B/DH types. Like someone said earlier, the Mariners have about 4 on their roster alone.

sjm308 said...

Now about our bunting - sorry unknown, just wanted to see how close you were to the john!

Again, I want to make sure I am understood. I don't want Rizzo out there cleaning house or calling about various trades. This is just a reality that we have two fairly decent bargaining chips and other teams have sights on the playoffs. If we are going to get above market value for a player it will be now and not during the off-season.

karlkolchak said...

I'd also mention about Clip--he isn't that cheap anymore. $4 million per season this year in his first year of arb eligibility at it is just going up from there. He's at peak trade value right now, and probably our best likely trading chip. Plus, middle relievers are far easier to replace than starters or position players.

I love Clip...would hate to see him go, but I'm just being realistic.

sjm308 said...

Can't imagine anyone really wanting LaRoche but it is not a horrible contract. I think at first glance karlkolchak has it right. We have lots of people who have not performed this season. I don't think we clean house but if there are offers for Span, Espinosa, LaRoche, Haren, etc etc you have to at least listen.

David Proctor said...

Isn't Clip's arbitration rate so high because he closed so many games last year? If he's not closing this year, then why would it rise? Not that it really makes a ton of difference, but just wondering.

David Proctor said...

LOL at someone offering something for Haren. I think I would GIVE UP a prospect if some team agreed to take him off our hands.

sjm308 said...

DP - wouldn't go that far but I do wonder how many more starts you give him before bringing up some of our younger guys. We have to start thinking about next year!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Someone who looks at prospects what do the Tigers have fo Soriano?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Tigers also need middle relief so Stammen or Storen could go there

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Home plate ump in Texas is terrible. Nathan squeezed terrible, Rivera pitches further out nd all called strikes.

Is any wonder i want automative balls and strikes.

Secret wasian man said...

I was Steve miller concert. Did the Nats really 1 run 3 hits and 2 errors? Wow that's pathetic.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Harper leadoff with Single Ramos homered in 3rd Span single in 8th.

Rendon error second, ramos error in about tge 6th.

We had 4 possible walks erased because we swung at ball 4.

Secret wasian man said...

Knoxville excellent point. Davey needs to go now. This team does not care. If they did they would,work to,dix,those things .

Secret wasian man said...

Thanks mnf

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Schu better ask for a raise there is a lot of fixxing to do.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

Rendon error second, ramos error in about tge 6th.

Espinosa and Suzuki would have made those plays, you know.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Almost makes the play at second it is a simple catch of a throw.

Sazuki would just hold the ball.

Unknown said...

Mark, whaddya mean "close to coming off the rails"?

This team has already crashed and is burning.

The train jumped the tracks in April when they blew the four run lead at home to the Braves, got swept. It came completely off when Harper crashed into the scoreboard wall in LA.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

That April 12 game started the mess for sure.

Unknown said...

Yes, their fragile, little girl psyches have yet to recover. What stinks is Atlanta has all but begged the Nats to engage them in a race, but the Nats are too cowed to even try. They are a team of wimps!

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

This division was there for the taking. Wished they had been interested.

Unknown said...

You have to have a backbone of some type. The Nats have none. No heart or fight in this sorry arse club. At all.

SonnyG10 said...

Just got back from the game. Except for the 3 run second inning, Taylor Jordan pitched pretty good. Too bad there was no offense to support him. It is almost unbelievable had the Nats offense continues to do so poorly. Seems to me they could go up to the plate blindfolded and get more hits than they've been getting. I think we should fire the batting coach...oh, we already did that. Sure solved our problem didn't it. Don't expect Schu to fix anything, folks. The problem is not the hitting coach.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

The execution of the hitters. Is not traditional.

Swing hard regardless of count or location , so its seem.

SonnyG10 said...

sjm308 said...
Can't imagine anyone really wanting LaRoche but it is not a horrible contract. I think at first glance karlkolchak has it right. We have lots of people who have not performed this season. I don't think we clean house but if there are offers for Span, Espinosa, LaRoche, Haren, etc etc you have to at least listen.
July 23, 2013 10:41 PM


¿Better hadn't trade Espi yet. Rendon's BA is heading down. If it falls below Espi's BA, we may need to get Espi back because he plays better defense¿

CraftySuzyB said...

I agree! And we have the opportunity to see him come up from the minors to watch him grow and mature into a major leaguer. No overly fussy press making a big deal about how fantastic he is and about how he is baseball's next phenom. Just a great pitcher on his way to stardom

CraftySuzyB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Trade Span back to Minnesota for Josh Willingham. Why the heck did Rizzo trade Willingham in the first place? I still don't get that.

D'Gourds said...

You know someone who we lost in the off season that was instrumental in our winning attitude and toughness, but nobody mentions him? BO PORTER. Tough guy. I miss him at third base.

Joe Seamhead said...

John, Josh Willingham singlehandedly drove up pitcher's ERA with his poor outfielding. He went to his own happy place when he went to a league that had the DH.

Roberto Fenili said...

Note to SonnyG10: It is still a long long way down to get to the twin Espinosa lines of Bat Avg and On Base Ptc.

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